Larry Kerschner Writes

Three Years of War

Larry Kershner


             We have just passed the three year mark since the President invaded Iraq to illegally overthrow a government that was no threat to the United States.  What have we to show for the three years of military occupation?  As of today 2,327 U.S. soldiers have died for no reason in Iraq .  There are close to 20,000 U.S. troops severely wounded or maimed.  There have been over 100,000 Iraqi deaths attributable to the war.

        Thus far we have spent over $300 billion in direct war expenses.  Add that to the price you think you are paying for the gasoline at the pump.  A recent estimate by a Nobel Laureate put total real costs of the war over time, including cost of veteran care, at between $1-2 trillion.  This figure is based on the assumption that we won't be in Iraq much longer.

        With the punitive years of deadly sanctions against the people of Iraq followed by the invasion we have radicalized a whole generation of religious extremists which heightens tensions throughout the whole Islamic world.  The current civil war in Iraq is a direct result of lack of a realistic world view by the Bush neo-cons.  We claim to want a democracy but when the people vote for some one who won't kowtow to Washington we call for a change in government leaders.  We are doing the same thing in Palestine .

       Our heavy-handed insensitive abuse of the Iraqi people has turned all factions against the U.S. making our soldiers sitting ducks.  Recent polls show that only thirty percent of Americans favor the Bush approach in Iraq .  Seventy-two percent of the U.S. troops in Iraq favor leaving within a year.  Eighty-seven percent of Iraqis want the U.S. troops to leave including forty-seven percent who approve of attacks on American occupiers. 

        We also don't hear much about Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan where 284 U.S.troops have died along with several thousand casualties.  Based on the percent of troops being killed or maimed Afghanistan is just as dangerous as Iraq .  In the past six months the Taliban have detonated at least twenty-three suicide bombs.  In both countries we have created societies that are on the verge of total self-destruction.

        I hear a lot of talk about supporting the troops but what does that mean.  Most of those who enlist in the military are from the working poor.  According to a recent Defense department study enlisted troops tend to come from families with household earnings of around $32,000.  These folks are poor to start with.  What happens when the military no longer has use for them?

        Last year, the Veterans Affairs Department suspended enrollment of 263,257 veterans.  It seems the VA underestimated the number of vets needing care after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan by 300 percent.  The unemployment rate for disabled veterans who left the military between  2001-2004 is 8.3%. 

        Bring our children home and be prepared to care for them.